There was no answer. He started to run down the nearest path, searching the shadows and mist, shouting her name.
"Blackhawk?" Massey was chasing him.
Brent stopped dead. Huey was standing before him. "They got out of here, Injun boy. Jumped the fence."
"Blackhawk, what the hell… are you talking to me?"
"She got out of here. It's all right," Huey said.
"Blackhawk, sweet Jesus, but you're giving me the willies."
Staring at Huey, knowing he was hearing the truth, Brent felt such a surge of relief that he nearly sank to the ground.
"She's all right," he murmured, closing his eyes. "I was so afraid that I'd find corpses!"
"There are corpses. Three of them," Massey thundered. "What in God's name are you doing?"
At that moment, Brent's pocket vibrated. He reached for his cell phone.
To his relief, he heard her voice.
"We're outside, Brent," she said quickly. "Julian thinks we should get the hell out of here as quickly as possible. He says we don't know anything. But I had to make sure you were all right."
"What should I do? I wouldn't know what to say to the police. They already think I'm crazy. They must really think you're crazy, but at least you're 'officially' crazy—sorry, an official of some kind who's crazy—and… oh, God, you are all right?"
"Blackhawk," Massey protested. "Are you listening to me? We've got three corpses in the cemetery. We've got hours and hours' worth of paperwork, and you'd better have some kind of explanation for all this. And what are you doing? Romancing your girl on the phone."
"I'm fine, Nikki. Listen, go—" He paused, in an agony of indecision. He was almost positive that Julian was innocent of any wrongdoing. He would be willing to bet that neither Patricia nor Nathan was involved, either.
The problem was, there wasn't going to be just one guilty party in this.
And he didn't know just who was involved, or how deeply.
"Go to the police station, Nikki. Tell Julian to walk you there, and if he doesn't want to hang around, he can go home. Just tell them you're waiting for me, all right?"
"You're going to be here for hours," Massey told him.
"Fine," Brent snapped back at Massey, who began swearing.
"Let's go," Massey said.
"Go to the police station, Nikki," Brent repeated.
"All right," she told him.
And they hung up.
Brent turned and stared at Massey. "Three corpses?"
"Yeah, we had help tonight," he said dryly. "Haggerty. Well, hell, none of them got away, anyway."
"Who are they? Do we know any of them?" Brent demanded.
"How the hell do I know? We haven't gotten the ski masks off the stiffs yet," Massey said. "Let's go. The ME is on his way. Oh, man, this is going to be bad."
At the station, Nikki and Julian were told that they had to sit and wait.
Julian grew so restless that he was annoying. His phone rang countless times, and he winced every time.
"Why don't you just answer?" Nikki demanded.
"Because she might figure out where I am and come here," Julian said.
"You've got to deal with it," Nikki told him.
He sighed. "Yeah, I know. How do I get into these things?"
"By being cute and irresistible?" Nikki suggested.
He glared at her and began to pace. "Man, we're a pair, aren't we? You're into a guy who sees ghosts, and I… man, I used to think I was all that. Then I met the nympho of the century. Nikki, do we have to wait here forever? What if we went to Harrah's or something? Someplace safe?"
"Brent said to wait here."
"It's going to be morning soon."
"And when it is, I'll just call Max and tell him that he's got to deal with his own business for a day, because I'm going to sleep. And I'm giving you the day off, too. How's that?"
"Great," he said, taking a chair again.
The desk sergeant gave him an aggravated look.
It didn't quell Julian, who was quickly up again, pacing.
"Can I go to your house?" he asked plaintively.
"Go," she told him.
He sat again.
She stared at him, and he sighed. "No, I'm not going to leave you here alone. We'll wait. We'll just wait."
Two men were dead by the wall. Brent was certain that he'd never seen either of them before. Naturally, they carried no identification.
The third corpse, the one by the tomb—the one who had been taking aim right where Nikki and Julian had been hiding—was just as much a stranger.
"A shoot-out, and all three of the perps dead. This is not good, not good. There's going to be some serious explaining to do. The higher-ups are going to be going crazy."
"I shot this one," Brent said. "In the hand."
"They can check the bullets," Brent told him.
Massey shook his head. "I went after the two coming in from the rear after I heard the first shot. Joulette was right behind me. I don't know if I killed one of the other two or not. They started firing away at us, and I fired back."
"Well, this one was killed by Haggerty," Brent said. "And ballistics will prove that."
"Haggerty was right behind us, but I couldn't say what he was doing. I warned him, but they were already firing at us. Who knows if he heard me." He swore again.
Brent kept silent but clenched his teeth. "We should have gotten some answers from these guys," he said. "They shouldn't all be dead."
"We've got answers," Joulette said, walking tiredly toward him. "There's a stash of drugs in the oven tombs that you wouldn't believe. Apparently this has been a dispersal point."
"Well, I guess that's it then," Massey said. "This is what Tom Garfield was on to. This is why he died. He got in with these guys somehow, and then they made him, knew he was an agent, and that's why he died."
"That's not it. Or not all of it. Come on, Massey."
Brent protested. "There was something wrong with Tom Garfield when he was in Madame's that morning."
"One of these guys must have been around," Massey said.
Brent shook his head. "That's not the end of it, and you know it. No one shot him up with heroin in the middle of Madame's," Brent said.
"No, but… someone could have slipped him something at Madame's, enough to mess him up. Then they got him out of the Quarter, shot him up and dumped him," Joulette said.
"And how does that explain Andrea Ciello?" Brent demanded.
Massey swore. Joulette looked down at his feet. "Maybe we'll have something when we get identities on these guys."
"So you believe there is a connection?" Brent demanded. "And that we're not done, that finding these guys isn't the end of it?"
Joulette looked at Massey. "No. Right after you were in today, we got a report. Andrea Ciello's place was torn apart."
"What?" Brent said sharply.
"It looked like a robbery, except that our fellows don't think that it was. Nothing obvious was missing. We figured we'd get Nikki DuMonde in tomorrow, find out for sure. But there was too much valuable stuff still left there."
"So someone was searching for something," Brent murmured.
"That's what it looks like," Joulette agreed. "Anyway, let's get to work. We need to finish up here, leave it to the crime scene team, and get the paperwork done." He sounded exhausted and despondent. "Dead, dammit. All dead."
"Rather them than us," Massey said, trying to sound more optimistic.
"Yeah, well, there's that. But this isn't going to look good," Joulette said.
"You did make a major drug bust," Brent pointed out.
"And how are you going to explain it?" Massey asked. "The papers will have a heyday with it. 'Psychic warns police on drug deal.'"
"How about we don't tell the papers mat?" Brent said. "Tell them that you talked to the girl who'd been attacked, and that your conversation led you to believe it was more than just vandals or schoolkids pulling pranks?"
"The reporters and the television crews are already assembling," Joulette said. "This mess isn't going to look good for Harold Grant. It will be like, wow, look at the city under him."
"It depends what spin you put on it," Brent said. "Look at what the police officers did during his term. It could give him a boost. Go make your statement. I'll meet you at the station," Brent told him.
Joulette looked at Massey, who shrugged. "What about Haggerty ? What if he gives some kind of a statement, too? Knowing him, he'll claim he was the one who caught up with these guys."
"Hey, he didn't want to be in on the paperwork. He doesn't get to be in the papers," Joulette said. "Blackhawk, you know a way out of here… ?"
"You bet," Brent said.
Brent was glad of the time it took to walk from the cemetery to Royal Street. It was time to think. Oddly enough, though it was sad to see anyone dead, it wasn't the fact that the drug dealers had been killed in the cemetery that disturbed him the most.
It was the knowledge that Andrea Ciello's place had been ransacked.
He doubted the culprits had been any of the thugs in the cemetery.
Nor had it been Max, Julian, Patricia or Nathan. Not given the timing.
Three hoods were dead. But he knew damn well they hadn't been the limits of the operation. There had to be someone else behind it.
If he took Max, Julian, Patricia and Nathan off the list, that left Mitch. But he had seen Mitch during the day, when the apartment had been ransacked.